New Medicare Plan Requires Help

By: Caroline Brady
By: Caroline Brady

Florida is already home to the largest senior population in the country, with more "baby-boomers" retiring every day, so the new discount prescription drug program is big news here in the Sunshine State.

The program opened up its registration period Tuesday. The plan is confusing to many, but there is help out there, and Tuesday it was in Bay County.

Jim Drake traveled to Lynn Haven Tuesday morning with hopes of clearing up some of the Medicare confusion.

"We assist Medicare recipients with any of their problems."

Tuesday was the first day to enroll in "Part D," a Medicare program aimed at getting senior citizens their prescriptions through private insurance companies with no out of pocket expense.

That sounds great, but with 18 different coverage plans in northwest Florida alone, it's hard to enroll without some help.

Jim works for a program created by the Florida Department of Elder Affairs. It's called "SHINE," which stands for "Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders." He and several other volunteers visited Lynn Haven Wednesday morning to explain the benefits of the program and how to enroll.

"Well, it's going to help a lot of people that previously haven't had help with prescriptions. Prescriptions cost a lot of money and a lot of people have to decide between eating or prescriptions."

The average senior citizens spends about $15,000 a year for prescriptions, and the program hopes to help alleviate the burden if you can figure out which program is best for you.

If you missed the session and want to talk to someone from shine you can call them at 1-800-96-ELDER, or call 1-800-MEDICARE. You can also learn more online at www.medicare.gov.


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